Dating and Relationship Advice

I was born in 1998, which means I’m right on the cusp of Gen Z and millennials. As a straddler of both generations, I’d like to think that I’m the perfect person to bridge intergenerational divides. My brother, who’s the epitome of Gen Z, practically sees me as a dinosaur because I unironically use Facebook. On the other hand, my boyfriend, who’s the epitome of a millennial, thinks I'm young because I don’t remember 9/11.

Either way, I know what it’s like to be left out, and am willing to help out folks who find it difficult to relate to people of other ages. It must suck when you’re eavesdropping on your children’s conversations and have no idea what they’re talking about. (I’m just kidding, I know you don’t do that, probably.) So for all you boomers and Gen Xers out there, here’s a list of five romance-related Gen Z phrases that you don't know the meaning of, but were too afraid to ask.


Cuffed just means you're in a monogamous relationship—like handCUFFED to another person. The cuffing season unofficially starts in October, when the temperature drops and singles start wishing they had a person to cuddle with during those snowy winter nights.

Two people usually consider themselves cuffed when they've DTRed (defined the relationship) and have decided they're seeing each other exclusively.


Simping, in its original meaning, is when a guy acts submissively towards a girl who puts very little effort into their friendship. It's like how Ross acts around Rachel in Friends before they start dating.

Simping is often associated with being friend-zoned—a guy will do everything for a girl he likes only to be seen as a strictly platonic companion. However, Twitter has co-opted simping to also mean fangirling over public personas, regardless of gender. It's kind of like stanning, but in an "I'd let you punch my face" type of way.

For instance, a few weeks ago, when everyone thought Kim Jong-un was dead, Twitter users began simping for his sister, rumored to be next in line for power. (I think they were joking, but with kids these days, you never know.)

Shoot your shot

Don't worry, it's wholesome. Shooting your shot just means mustering the courage to ask out your crush. A common way to shoot your shot is by sliding into someone's DMs (messaging them).

This term is used exclusively in the present and infinitive tense. If you say, "back when I was your age I shot my shot with your mom" you run a high risk of getting an "ok boomer" in response.

We have a "thing"

"We're not dating, mom, we have a 'thing.'"

Having a thing with someone represents that ambiguous, intermediate stage between friendship and relationship. Maybe the two of you went to junior prom together and shared a kiss, but you haven't established that you're boyfriend/girlfriend yet.

I noticed that this term disappeared when I got to college, and people traded in "we have a thing" for "we're hooking up." The latter implies a far more promiscuous relationship, so we should feel grateful that we don't hear it among younger Gen Zers.


When you first start seeing someone, a sizable chunk of communication happens over text—making it far easier to turn down someone by just... ignoring them. Yes, it's cowardly. Yes, it's hurtful. And yes, people do it anyway.

Every one of my friends has either been ghosted or has ghosted someone before. It's not the smoothest process, but the ghostEE* usually picks up pretty quickly that the other ghostER* is no longer interested. And if they don't, and have never even heard of the term before—well, that probably just means that they're too old for us in the first place.

*I made these words up for the sake of brevity. Please don't use them IRL.

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